Parents' beliefs about preschooler's emotions: the role of socialization and implications for child outcomes

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Karahuta, Erin L.
Psychology; Social and Behavioral Sciences
thesis / dissertation description
Previous research has demonstrated that mothers vary in the degree to which they believe children's emotions are valuable. These beliefs relate to self-reported parenting behaviors. However, research has not examined how mothers' beliefs relate to children's socioemotional outcomes. The current study predicted the extent to which mothers value children's emotions and see value in coaching their children through emotional experiences would be positively related to children's emotion understanding and empathy, and this relationship would be mediated by the quality of mother-child emotion discourse. Mother-preschooler dyads took part in this lab-based study. Overall, our predictions were not confirmed, however, there was some support for a positive relationship between mothers' belief in emotion coaching and children's empathy. In contrast with prior work, mothers' beliefs did not predict discourse quality. Future work should assess if other factors, such as child characteristics, are more influential than mothers' beliefs about emotions in predicting parenting strategies.